Women in Cleantech Challenge is first of five challenges to be launched in coming months

The Government of Canada is challenging women to innovate in the clean technology sector, with a reward of $1 million dollar to the best innovation, according to a press release.

The government says that women are underrepresented in clean technology. Only five per cent of Canadian tech companies have a sole woman founder or CEO, and only 13 per cent of companies have a woman co-founder.

Canada’s aspiring woman cleantech entrepreneurs and innovators can submit their ideas to tackle the world’s most difficult energy and environmental challenges.

“Women are a powerful force in Canada’s innovation economy but are significantly underrepresented in the cleantech sector. This challenge will identify and showcase the top women innovators from across the country who are solving deep technical challenges that benefit both our environment and our economy,” said Yung Wu, CEO of MaRS Discovery District.

The Women in Cleantech Challenge offers five women an extraordinary opportunity to develop their idea into a marketable world-class cleantech solution and compete for a $1 million prize. The Challenge focuses on the development of new solutions in areas such as climate change, green growth and applying new technologies to reduce negative environmental impacts.

Applicants will be assessed by a six-member jury — including an honorary juror — who bring expertise and experience in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), clean technology, business development and environmental awareness. Renowned Canadian novelist and environmental activist Margaret Atwood will serve as the honorary juror.

“For too long, women entrepreneurs and innovators have been under-represented in the cleantech industry. The search is now on for women-led cleantech innovations that will address climate change, spur more green growth and use technologies to reduce negative environmental impacts, while creating good middle-class jobs,” said Bardish Chagger,  Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

“This nationwide search supports the goals of the nearly $2-billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy which was announced in Budget 2018. Because we know that when women succeed, everyone succeeds.”

The Women in Cleantech Challenge is the first of five exciting challenges that will be launched in the coming months under Natural Resources Canada’s Cleantech Impact program, which will invest $75 million over four years in the five challenges.

Five women entrepreneurs will each receive support valued at more than $800,000 through:

  • business incubator support valued at $300,000 from MaRS
  • the opportunity to work with federal labs to develop their technology — up to $250,000 value
  •  an annual $115,000 stipend for living and travel expenses